My son, Jonathan gave me Three Cups of Tea-One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time about humanitarian, Greg Mortenson for my birthday. Linda also mentioned this book in her blog, Linda Letters.
Greg Mortenson has been striving to promote peace by building schools mostly for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan for the past 16 years.
At the Pentagon, Mortenson told our military leaders:
"And if you tell them, 'We're sorry your father died, but he died a martyr so Afghanistan could be free,' and if you offer them compensation and honor their sacrifice, I think people will support us, even now. But the worst thing you can do is what we're doing-- ignoring the victims. To call them 'collateral damage' and not even try to count the numbers of the dead. Because to ignore them is to deny they ever existed, and there is no greater insult in the Islamic world. For that, we will never be forgiven."
Another passage is Brigadier General Bashir Baz of Pakistan saying:
"Your President Bush has done a wonderful job of uniting one billion Muslims against America for the next two hundred years."...
... "You have to attack the source of your enemy's strength. In America's case, that's not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever."
I believe the problem goes both ways. The people in the U.S. have a lot of misconceptions of Muslims and the war torn Islamic world also fear and hate what they perceive of the U.S.
Greg Mortenson is building schools there to try to stem the tide of suspicion, anger and misunderstanding one school at a time. I really feel Americans need to help him. Linda did and I will, too.
When you get a chance, do read this book. It will lift your spirit knowing there are altruistic people like Greg who want to do the right thing no matter how impossible it seems, and is actually able to do it.